Gators race past Eagles 52-17
Last updated 10/6/2022 at 11:14am
Eastern Washington scored first and last with a pair of touchdowns, but in-between the Florida Gators scored oftentimes quickly in taking a 52-17 non-conference football victory over the Eagles, Sunday, Oct. 2 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville.
The game was moved from Saturday to Sunday due to Hurricane Ian.
Eastern had a 3-0 lead after a Seth Harrison 44-yard field goal. However speedy Florida scored on its first touch of the football when Anthony Richardson connected with Justin Shorter for 75 yards on a play that took just 11 seconds.
The Gators would score on all five of their offensive drives in the first half, including another long passing play, a Ricky Pearsall 76-yard run that took just 16 seconds and made it 28-3 on the way to a 35-3 lead at halftime. Seven different Gator players scored in this first-ever meeting for the Eagles with a Southeast Conference opponent.
With Florida leading 52-3, Eastern wrapped up scoring when Gunner Talkington found Jakobie James for the 28-yard touchdown pass with 8 minutes, 35 seconds remaining.
EWU’s Alphonse Oywak would block a 46-yard field goal attempt by the Gators on their next drive and backup quarterback Kekoa Visperas would take advantage scoring a a 25-yard rushing touchdown with 3:17 to play.
“With Kekoa Visperas scoring and Jakobie James made a big catch, there was a lot of good stuff going on,” Best said. “Now, it’s the challenge of doing that against Big Sky Conference play.”
Talkington completed 24-of-37 pass attempts for 250 yards. Tuna Altahir was the team’s leading rusher with 52 rushing yards on 15 carries. Freddie Roberson led EWU receivers with 62 yards on seven catches.
On the defensive side, Sherwin King Jr. led the team with six tackles and Marion Jones Jr. had the game’s lone interception.
The Eagles put up 411 yards of total offense including 258 through the air and 153 on the ground. They had the ball for 36:28 of the game compared to 23:32 for the Gators. The Gators amassed 666 yards of total offense with 392 passing yards and 274 rushing yards.
EWU drops to 1-3 overall (0-1 Big Sky Conference) while the Gators improve to 3-2 overall (0-2 Southeastern Conference).
This is the first time EWU has lost three consecutive games since the 2015 season when it ended 6-5 and failed to make the FCS playoffs. The Eagles will return to Big Sky play Saturday, Oct. 8 at Weber State with kickoff set for 5 p.m. Pacific time from Ogden, Utah. The game can be viewed on ESPN+ and heard on 700-AM ESPN.